TMZ reported first, and Pitchfork confirms via court documents, that Florida rapper Kidd Wes is suing Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino for copyright infringement. Wes, whose real name is Emelike Wesley Nwosuocha, claims that Gambino’s “This Is America” has ‘substantial similarities’ to his song “Made In America” from 2016. The lawsuit was filed in a New York federal court.
The list of defendants in Kidd Wes’s lawsuit is quite extensive. In addition to Donald Glover, the defendants are: “This Is America” co-writer Young Thug, “This Is America” producer Lüdwig Goransson, Kobalt Music, RCA Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Young Stoner Life Publishing LLC, 300 Entertainment, Atlantic Records, Warner Music Group, Roc Nation, Universal Music Publishing Group, and Warner Chappell Music.
Kidd Wes first uploaded “Made in America” to SoundCloud on September 11, 2016. A document filed with the lawsuit shows that Wes was granted a copyright for his album Eleven: The Junior-Senior Year on May 24, 2017. “Made in America” is the closing song on Eleven, which got released later in 2017.
In the lawsuit, Kidd Wes and his lawyers argue that “the substantial similarities between both songs include, but are not limited to, nearly-identical unique rhythmic, lyrical, and thematic compositional and performance content contained in the chorus—or ‘hook’—sections that are the centerpieces of both songs.”
Kidd Wes and his attorneys are seeking damages from profit in at least 43 categories, including record sales, ringtones, ringback tones, endorsements, increased goodwill, any and all music publisher, record master, and record incomes, and increased value in negotiating 360 deals with record companies.